Mary Testa, Ed Asner and Austin Pendleton Set for The Lynne Show, Sept-Oct 2012
The Lynne Show's next three interviewees have all won awards for their work in theater, film and TV. They are honored and respected by their colleagues but two of them are virtually unknown outside of their profession. They have all struggled with and overcome significant obstacles, in order to achieve the skill they have achieved and the recognition of their peers. Another thing they have in common is their remarkable candor, openness, unselfconsciousness, self-deprecation and amazing generosity.
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September 4, 2012 – Mary Testa is a working actress, singer, dancer, Jill of all trades in the theatre, and winner of a Drama Desk Award for "3 decades of excellent work." Most recently she starred as the intrepid Annie Edson Taylor in the musical Queen of the Mist, which was written for her by composer, lyricist and librettist Michael John LaChiusa, who has himself been nominated for several Tony and Drama Desk Awards. Like the character she plays in Queen of the Mist, Mary Testa "has greatness in her." She found a way to survive a childhood which didn't celebrate her. In Catholic school she was treated very badly because she "everything she wasn't supposed to be;" Italian, when the nuns were Irish, curly haired and breasted, when the norm was straight hair and a flat-chest, out-spoken and defiant, when good girls were quiet and obedient. Refusing to go to Catholic High School Mary attended the public high school where she was the new kid in town and therefore, once more, odd man out. But Mary would not be suppressed and developed a full out – in your face – "I will say what everyone is thinking but no one else will say," personality. Accompanying this outgoing personal style is Mary's prodigious talent and that is what has kept her working in theater. Listen to this guile-less, passionate, funny, thoughtful woman talk about her life and her work, and hear her glorious voice in snippets from Queen of the Mist.
September 11-18, 2012 – I am re-running the interview I did with the irrepressible, outrageous, talented, generous, and at 83 still sexy and still acting, Ed Asner, because he is once again back on Broadway. Ed co-stars with Paul Rudd, Michael Shannon and Kate Arrington in Grace,which previews on Sept 13th and will run for 16 weeks. Best known for his portrayal of the curmudgeonly Lou Grant, a role he created on the Mary Tyler Moore show and reprised in his own show called only Lou Grant. Ed won seven Emmy Awards, more than any other male actor, and is the only actor to win an Emmy for his work in both a sitcom and a Drama series – for playing the same role. A famously outspoken rebel, who has always been courageously true his beliefs, and often paid a heavy price for his courage, Ed Asner is still poster child for true north. Spontaneous, open, guile-less; with Ed - what you see is what there is, and that is terrific. Listen to this funny, interesting man talk about his life and his work, his dogged commitment to being the best he can be and his dedication to bettering the lives of those less fortunate than himself. And get to New York to see a real life icon in action.
September 25-October 2, 2012 – I start this interview by saying "I am here with the one and only Austin Pendleton. This is not a casual or frivolous comment. Nominated for a Tony for his direction of Elizabeth Taylor in The Little Foxes, winner of a Drama desk and an Obie award, actor, director, playwright, producer, teacher and inspiration, Austin Pendelton is one of a kind; a singleton. Unique, special, extraordinary and esteemed by his peers (listen to Meryl Streep and Olympia Dukakis talk about him), Austin has somehow managed to stay under the radar of fame. His love affair with the theater began when at seven years old when he snuck down stairs to watch his town's fledgling community theater group rehearse in his living room. But young Austin denied his interest in acting to his friends, he says "who would believe that a nerdy kid, who wore glasses and stuttered so badly could be an actor." Apparently Austin did. Apparently Austin was right. While not able to stop him, his stutter remained an intractable stumbling block on the path to his beloved goal – working in the theater. But Austin is not only incredibly talented, he is also incredibly tenacious; listen to the determination with which he worked to overcome his stutter and so become, while not famous, a professional who is always working, always in demand. Check out Austin Pendleton Theatre Credits and Austin Pendleton - Filmography to see what I mean.
If this is the first you have heard of him – take this opportunity to hear from this funny, sweet, accomplished, remarkable man. Then go to my website, watch the video, and donate to, the making of the Austin Pendleton Project, co-directed by Gene Gallerano and David H. Holmes.
Photo Credit: Monica Simoes